Monday, 29 August 2011

The last couple of days at BHM

As there's been some half decent weather over the bank holiday weekend, I thought I'd spend any 'free' time down at Black Hole Marsh to try and get some more wildlife shots. It's been much the same as usual; Dunlin, Greenshank, Little Egrets etc. The most interesting birds have been the two Ruff and two Little Stints.
Whilst I was there yesterday, I saw hundreds of gulls go up on the estuary, and I soon found out why! I heard the distinct calls of Pergrines: there were 3 of them! Two juvs were displaying some surprising behaviour, diving and hitting Little Egrets and gulls in the Black Hole Marsh reserve. A dead bird is now visible from the hide... not sure if this is related to the attack I saw though. Unfortunately I was on the path rather than in the island hide at the time so I couldn't get photos of the majority of the action. Really gutted! I did manage to get some lame shots as one of them was flying away...

Other bird of prey pics (from today) include:

These are backlit but I did the best I could with these as I was shooting straight at the sun! The exposure compensation just about showed up enough pattern detail.

Others from BHM:
5 of the many Dunlin



Ruff, Ruff and Greenshank


Little Stint

2 Little Stints

Snipe (only a brief appearance on sunday 28th)


And these Wheatear pics were taken by the path leading up to the hide at Seaton:

Now I'm looking forward to an Osprey (or two) staying... Fingers crossed we get one for a while again this year!

Monday, 22 August 2011


I spent pretty much all of the daytime yesterday at Black Hole Marsh. I'll apologise in advance for the onslaught of pics which will soon be in evidence...
Non-bird pics first:
Migrant Hawker

Water Vole

Now to the birds:
Wood Sandpipers:
+ Dunlin

Little Egret:



Pretty pleased with this one.

And then this happened..... hmm nice!
Here it comes...

Flying out...

And plop into the water!

Unfortunately this bird had an injured left leg. This did make it easier to get a wings-up shot though as the bird had to flap to keep it's balance when it was walking.

Rubbish shots but these birds are good at eluding me and my cameras so I'll post them anyway.



Pied Wagtail (juvenile):

I also spotted two (I'm assuming juvenile) Peregrines Falcons tumbling around in the sky, quite high up. They flew over BHM from Axe Cliffs direction.
Also a big thanks to Alick Simmons who let me stick my camera on the end of his 500mm lens + 1.4x extender combo. The fourth pic down in the Wood Sandpiper section was taken with his lens (wasn't sunny at the time). I already wanted that lens, definitely want one now. My 300mm is too short for wildlife really, although the size is convenient (only big instead of huge). Better get yet another job to fund it then (as well as not instead of)... or win the lottery ;-).

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Cracking views from BHM (and more)

I briefly went to BHM yesterday evening after work. I took a few (dozen) shots of a Kestrel hunting in the area behind the Field Studies Base. Also there was a Green Sandpiper and a Black-Tailed Godwit on the scrape. Here's some of yesterdays pics:

Shame about the damned lines!!


After work I motorbiked off to visit Black Hole Marsh to see what was about. Nothing unusual (except the car park was VERY full; little did I know that there was an event on today!) but I got some shots of birds in some SUN for a change. Which has become a rarity of late. When I arrived, there were two Wood Sandpipes in view from the peep holes on the left hand side of the path towards the main BHM hide. After a few minutes a third turned up, and the sun came out. Late afternoon sun always seems to be best for making the photos look good; nice and contrasty, as well as adequately saturated. Here's a shot of all three together (this took a while to achieve as they tend to spread themselves out a bit):

Lovely birds!

From the far end of the Black Hole Marsh reserve there was a Greenshank visible (at a fair distance) from the viewing platform:

Moving to the hide, there was a rather tame Little Egret that was determined to be photographed. This is a very rare complaint from me, but the bird was too close to fit in the frame of the camera at times... Unfortunately the Egret was on the West side of the hide so it was silhouetted when it eventually caught a fish that was big enough to be worth photographing (ahem). I'll post the pic anyway, along with a few others:

I'm quite pleased with this shot.

Another bird which showed well for people in the hide was a Grey Heron. Thankfully this one was fully in the sun. Ahh being able to use ISO 100 or even 200 on my camera is a novelty! Here's some pics of the Heron:

Not a bad afternoon of wildlife watching & photography :-).